Preventive vs. Predictive Maintenance: What’s Best for Your Machinery?

engineers at work

Maintenance is essential to keep a machine running up to its useful life. With regular maintenance, you can be sure that your equipment won’t be breaking down when you need it the most. It also lessens delays in production, leading to efficient operations.

However, it can be challenging to determine when you should shut down your machine to be serviced. You would need to weigh the costs of lost production time against a potential breakdown.

Manufacturers recommend proactively maintaining your machine, which involves fixing potential issues before they get worse. Proactive maintenance consists of two types: predictive and preventive maintenance.

Preventive Maintenance: Planning When to Maintain Machinery

Also called planned maintenance, preventive maintenance involves performing maintenance on the machine on intervals stated by the manufacturer. According to Boss Magazine, this is the most popular maintenance strategy among various organizations.

Most of the time, preventive maintenance follows a regular schedule. For example, the manufacturer of your electrical equipment recommends weekly maintenance. This gives you the time necessary to prepare for downtime and backup equipment.

Although a regular schedule makes maintenance easy to track, it might not always apply in some circumstances. It relies on the theoretical rate of failure instead of the actual equipment performance. This means that what manufacturers recommend might not always be the best schedule for maintenance, primarily when the machine operates in different circumstances.

Relying too much on a machine’s recommended preventive maintenance schedule could result in two scenarios:

  • Over-maintenance: Since you’re maintaining equipment based on the required intervals, you might perform more maintenance than required. This could increase maintenance costs and place unnecessary pressure on the machine.
  • Under-maintenance: You might not be maintaining the machine as much as recommended. This results in more extended downtime and unexpected malfunctions.

man operating a machine

Predictive Maintenance: Performing Maintenance as Needed

Predictive maintenance involves real-time monitoring of machines. The equipment is connected to a data historian or a computer maintenance management system (CMMS). With sensor data, the predictive system monitors the machine’s performance and anticipates and predicts failures.

Using data from the CMMS, you can predict when an asset will malfunction. You can then fix the issue before the failure occurs.

Compared to preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance results in lower maintenance costs. According to the Department of Energy, predictive maintenance reduces maintenance costs by up to 8 to 12%. This is because organizations perform maintenance only when necessary.

By predicting when a machine might malfunction, it’s easier to determine when to allocate resources. For example, a careful analysis of your electrical appliance helps you identify the best time to source and buy extra H07RN-F cables.

Although predictive maintenance reduces costs, it might not be as cost-effective as you would expect. This type of maintenance involves installing sensors to monitor your machinery. It can also be expensive to set up analytics capabilities and train your staff to change your existing maintenance process.

Maintaining machines is essential to optimize their useful life and performance. Knowing whether to perform predictive or preventive maintenance ensures that your equipment runs smoothly, minimizing delays to your operations. Take the time to understand what your business needs to determine the right maintenance process for your machines.

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